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A day after Patrick Cannon was sworn in as the new mayor of Charlotte, our former mayor Anthony Foxx returned to address the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.

Foxx resigned as Charlotte’s mayor after being named as U.S. Transportation Secretary. On Tuesday, he told reporters that he sent Cannon a personal note and described Cannon as a “good politician.”

“He knows this city well,” Foxx said, according to an article in the Charlotte Observer. “He’s been around for 20 years doing things for the city. For him it’s just going to be a matter of waking up every day and getting after making the city better.”

In his speech, Foxx cited Charlotte’s accomplishments in the past such as:  lowering the crime rate, creating 13,000 jobs and expanding the youth employment program.
“The city has its best days ahead,” Foxx said. “We took the long view.”

Foxx called Charlotte’s willingness to pull together a model for the nation. His speech also laid out the challenges facing the Obama administration regarding transportation such as: an infrastructure deficit due to more than 100,000 aging bridges, fast-growing urban areas, ports that aren’t prepared to accommodate the new larger container ships that will come through the Panama Canal and expiration date of our current two-year transportation bill.

Foxx said he will do everything we can to move transportation projects faster and at a lower cost  and create a transportation plan. Foxx said, “transportation is not a partisan issue. It’s a national imperative. Transportation can help build a connection between every American and the 21st Century economy .”

Foxx’s speech was a highlight of the annual meeting which spotlights Charlotte’s economic accomplishments. The meeting drew dozens of Charlotte business and elected leaders. Former Chamber Chair Brett Carter said the Chamber’s economic development team added more than 7,100 new jobs beating its goal by 41 percent and found $728 million in capital investments.

Citing the importance of minority businesses, Hugh McColl presented the Diversity Champion award to David Darnell who helped the Charlotte Chamber create Charlotte Minority Economic Development Initiative (CMEDI) in in partnership with the Carolina’s Minority Development Council.   Dan DiMicco, executive chairman of Nucor, won the Charlotte Chamber’s Citizen of the Carolinas award.